There has been an annoying proliferation of fake blogs lately. Fortunately Sam Brown and the rest of the B4B Team do a great job of moderating the comments, so you never see links to these fake blogs. You may not even know that they exist. As a side note, we get more than 500 spam comments per day here. (59,166 spam comments vs 16,383 legitimate comments to date.) Keeping up with them is a tiresome and disheartening task. Anyone who works on a blog knows exactly what I’m talking about.
Spam comments normally either say something short and stupid or long and stupid, having nothing to do with the topic and link back to their own websites hawking discount pharmaceuticals (viagra, cialis, phentermine, methamphetamine, etc.). Spam comments often contain dozens if not hundreds of links, usually to porn sites. These are annoying enough, but fairly innocuous and easy for the spam filter to catch. I have been documenting some of the stupider spam to hit our filter for quite some time.
Fake blogs are a different beast altogether. Fake blogs tend to be of the news aggregator type. Basically they grab a bunch of text from someone else’s blog post and try to get a trackback from their target. We delete these trackbacks immediately. Why? First of all, it pollutes the comment sections. Second of all they attempt to drive traffic to their own sites, again hawking pharmaceuticals, porn, phoney insurance, etc. Linking to these fake blogs would also boost their site ranking. This I will not do.
One of the main problems with these fake blogs is that they obfuscate search engine results. The content that we produce here appears on dozens of fake blogs trying to get traffic based on our material. That is their purpose, after all. They want to get you to their site, so they can serve you advertising and try to fool you into buying their worthless crap.
Search tools like Technorati and Google Blog Search need to make the attempt to or do a better job of filtering these fake blogs from their search results. To see the kind of fake blogs I’m talking about, take a look at blog reactions you’ll find on Technorati or Google Blog Search. Blogs with names like “auto insurance quote,” “ephedra,” “order codeine,” “b1g p3n1s” and the like are these fake blogs I’m taking about. “University Update” is another fake blog that’s been around for many months and has been consistently leeching off our valuable and thought provoking content.
Typically these automated posts begin with “_ wrote an interesting post today on _. Here’s an excerpt: …” or “Wow! While surfing the net today I found a great post written by The Queen of England. Here is an outline: …” (Note: They almost always get the author’s name wrong.) And they not only link to and steal the content of our posts, but they routinely link to individual comments, even the stupid ones. Example: “Wow! Spacebrother wrote a really interesting post today. Here is an excerpt…” There’s several things wrong with that, least of all that Spacehippie has never written anything of interest in his entire life.
I know this post about Internet pollution is rather technical in nature, but to make it simple: those who run fake blogs and blog spambots deserve to be shot dead. Any questions?
And don’t answer with “I couldn’t understand some parts of this article, but it sounds interesting.” TIA.
Update: More general information about this annoying subject can be found under these topics: blog scraping, scraper site, comment spam, spamdexing. Even more generally, the word “scumbag” applies quite nicely.
Update 2: Profile of a turd. Most of you have heard of Blogger. Signing up is free and once you do, you can set up and run a blog of your own. Enter newbie, TTSAY. I say newbie because this person just set up a blogger account this month. This user already has set up at least 61 free blogs (more may not be listed), all named “buy meridia.” Yet TTSAY has never written a post himself. Instead TTSAY has stolen content from other blogs, including this one.
This is not the purpose of free blogs and this is not the intent behind fair use. TTSAY is a douchebag and a leech. Blog providers should really crack down on this disgusting conduct before people are drowning in this cesspool of useless duplicated content and abandon blogs altogether.